Albania – Switzerland, 0-1!
Group A: Albania 0 – 1 Switzerland
It was a family show in the match between Albania and Switzerland, quite literally. Six players in the Switzerland side are of Albanian heritage and 10 players in the Albania team were either born or raised in Switzerland.
Interestingly, this was the first time in the European Championship when two brothers faced off against each other for opposite teams. Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka and his brother, Albania’s Taulant Xhaka became the first brothers to play against each other in the Euros and they both acquitted themselves well.
The Xhaka brothers have Albanian parents, but were raised in Switzerland. Taulant decided to switch to his native Albania after not being considered for Switzerland.
As for the match, it was an intense affair and there was nothing friendly about it. Both teams gave it their all but Switzerland’s Fabian Schars header early in the first half proved to be the critical moment of the match.
Albanian goalkeeper Etrit Berisha made a mess of Xherdan Shaqiris corner and flapped at the ball, which was gleefully picked by Schar, who headed it into the empty net.
Albania never quite looked like getting back into the game, but Shkelzen Gashi almost levelled it for them late in the match. Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer made a couple of crucial saves which ensured that his team held on to their lead.
Author: Raghav Hegde – India